Archive for February, 2013

Another tweak to the many-bags-at-a-time step

This is further to the entry for 20 Feb. post, `Cutting those bags even faster!’, which is for cutting many bags at a time for the `hula’ stage.

I’d bought two sets of clips — metal with extender arms (more or less the same as those Danielle uses in her video) and also plastic ones, which don’t open as widely. So, with 12 clips available, I decided to make up 3 sets of 10 bags each, clip them carefully together, and then do all the same steps to the three sets: clip off the two corners, slit the bottoms, then proceed with cutting as in Danielle’s video.

The result: 30 bags all at the `hula’ stage in about 15 minutes, all set for when I sit down to watch TV and can mindlessly (!) cut each of them into the single long strip and start up again — another sitting mat, this time with Beatrice green and Sealtest navy blue. Should make a nice combo!

Cutting those bags even faster!

A couple of weeks ago I came across a link at the website to a pretty neat way to speed up bag preparation.

The YouTube video is by Danielle Duval-Conway, who is the coordinator for the Orleans area:

I’ve been using this for the past few weeks, and have only found one small additional step to add — I use two more clips to hold the cut edges together, as I move from one cut to the next. I find it helps reduce slippage even more. Oh, I notice that I’m also tugging a bit with the left hand, to try and keep the bags taut as I cut up towards the top.

The other thing is to take the time to really carefully line up the bottom corners of the bags — I clip near the lined up corners at one end and then adjust the other corner, and clip near that, too. Flatten the bags towards the top tab ends, and then put three clips across the top edge, as Danielle shows in her video. The only way to make this give you even strips through all the layers is to make sure everything’s as lined up as possible.

My other observation is that 10 bags is about the most to do at the same time — after that, the layers become too hard to cut and that slippage thing starts to happen again. The `hula skirt’ of many layers (!) can then be folded into three, put into a bag, and set aside till you want to sit down and do the final cutting stage … while watching TV or something like that 🙂

I did indeed find clips at the Dollar Store — I bought both metal and plastic ones, and find the metal ones, with those extender handles, are easier to manipulate and open wider.

I think this is a great idea and thank Danielle for making this video! I find it really does speed things up: you can do a set of 25 bags with just three rounds of cutting, rather than doing 25 individual sets of cuts. And for me, it saves a bit of wear and tear on the hands and wrists, even if the multiple layers require more force. So, give it a try!

General news and updates

Nothing really earth-shaking to write … Just bits and pieces …

  • at school, the students are coming along well on their 2×2 mats. Some are already on their second! While the first was a get-acquainted sort of venture, I’ve suggested their second one might be a chance to play with colour bands/stripes — it really seems to go faster when you’re anticipating the next colour change.
  • the monthly pick-up of bags from one of the local elementary schools also continues, with amazing returns. Since last October, 4,881 bags have been collection, of which 4179 were good (that’s about 85% of all bags collected!). Each pick-up is sorted by colour, into sets of 25. We could really use some more crocheters!
  • all bags that don’t get used (too dirty, smelly, etc.) go to the Metro’s plastic bag recycle bin, as well as the bits that are cut off the bags to make them into strips. Nothing goes into the landfill.
  • I’ve also been getting together with some other ladies who are part of the milkbag project. It’s been very nice to spend a couple of hours every two weeks with people who also love to crochet. I’ve heard that some groups find a cafe and have a regular time anyone can drop in and join. I’d recommend it to anyone — it’s motivation (esp. if you’re doing an adult sleeping mat!) and a chance to exchange tips (and bags!) and ideas — and having some tea or coffee with something to nibble makes it ever nicer!


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